May 09, 2017 01:08 AM EDT
Nuclear waste is still a priority problem amassing in some areas of the United States. The disposal of these nuclear waste is still hanging as to which process they would forgo. There are two options on how to approach this dilemma. The U.S. State Department had granted a budget of $17 Billion for a vitrification plant to convert the nuclear waste material into glass logs back in 2002. The other option is to encase it in cement and bury deep in the bowels of the earth called grouting.
The US Government Accountability Office is urging congress to study a less expensive process to do away with the Nuclear Waste by burying it in concrete texture and get rid of it in plain view in a process known as Grouting. The nuclear waste is still in underground tanks in Hanford, Washington. These storage facilities are under threat since it's been decades when the storage of nuclear waste began in this area and the tanks are beginning to leak. Plutonium waste is still in this vicinity since World War II including the by-products left in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs.
But the US Energy Department says that the proper and safest way to dispose of the nuclear wastes is to convert it into glass logs. According to Alex Smith, Manager for the US State Department of Ecology Nuclear Waste Program, vitrification is still the best process that is safe and is a protection to the environment as well, reports The New York Times.
The process of encasing these nuclear waste in cement and burying them in concrete is still being considered as it is cheaper than vitrification. This is what the delay is all about. A proposal for a new study on how to dispose of the nuclear waste. Smith says that further delay would alienate the funding sought for the vitrification plant that is scheduled to fully operate in 2023.
Washington Democrat Senator Maria Cantwell expressed that further studies mean wasted time and delay of the work at hand. Furthermore, the project must not dwell on distractions she added, reports CNBC News.
There are over 56 million gallons (211 million liters) in underground storage tanks in Hanford and 42 million gallons (159 million liters) in southern Carolina near the border of Georgia. These Nuclear waste materials are all waiting for permanent disposal.
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